You’re Driving Me Mad, Men: 8 Commercials I Hate So Hard Right Now

It seems that now that the entire country and all its commercial enterprises are basically bankrupt, the only businesses left who can afford massive chunks of television commercial airtime are the businesses who made the entire country and its commercial enterprises bankrupt, e.g., insurance, cable/internet providers, cell phones and related gadgetry, car companies and big pharma. Perhaps that’s reason #457 of why we’re currently knee-deep in what I perceive to be the Dark Ages of television commercials.

Yes, commercials have always been bad and irritating, with all their grating catch-phrases/jingles and tired stereotypes of harpy women and douchey dudes, and maybe I’m just noticing it more now because I’m older and therefore more curmudgeonly. But I’ve never inherently hated commercials. My Mom forbade us from watching any television stations that aired commercials as kids, so I didn’t actually start seeing commercials on the reg until my early-to-mid teens, but I also find advertising/marketing interesting in general and used to pay actual money every single year to watch the winners of The Best Commercials of the Year on the big screen at the Michigan Theater.

Clearly annoying advertising works, I guess but sometimes it seems like the ad-people spend so much time convincing you that they really understand you and how you use technology that they forgot to also try and sell the product.

The worst commercials on the air today are what I’d call “OMG MY TECH!” commercials, in which actors attempt to sell you a phone/internet provider by demonstrating how one can use said gadget to annoy and disrespect other people.

Believe it or not I’ve had this post in a draft for months now waiting for the proper opportunity to complain as a group together about this situation, I feel like the Mad Men premiere is a good excuse.

Here are some of the worst commercials currently airing 56 times a night on my teevee.

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1. Hitting You Over the Head With an Axe and Throwing Your Phone Into a Swamp? So Five Seconds Ago – AT&T 4G LTE

The worst commercials on television are these “So [x] seconds ago” situations. The funniest part of it is that despite having seen this ad 456 times and complained about it at least 16 times, I didn’t remember what it was advertising until attempting to find the ad for this article. There are several versions of this:

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2. Romantic Dinner – AT &T iPhone 4S

In “Romantic Dinner,” this girl is on a date with a guy who’s on his phone the whole time checking sports scores/games. I thought, based on the content of the ad, that it’d be advertising a special kind of hammer women could use to temporarily disable their douchebag boyfriends, but alas, I was wrong. The advertisement is for the phone that is enabling this guy to be annoying.

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3. Call Me Rock God – iPhone 4S

Haven’t we decided, as a society, that the iphone 4S “Rock God” ad totally blows? Why is that shit still on the air? CANCEL IT. This parody is funny, though.

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4. Honda Really Big Sales Event – “Chinese Couple” (that’s the actual name of this commercial, I didn’t make it up)

This commercial is just — like — how many ideas were thrown out there before they settled on this one?

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5. State of Unrest – State Farm Insurance

Wow, this is a really great marriage. I want whatever insurance they’re using! Hahaha it’s Steve from State Farm. It really is Steve!

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6. Marry Bacon – Jack-in-the-Box

This would be better as a Focus on the Family PSA about what will happen if they let gay people marry:

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7. xFinity – Welcome Back

If my life is ever anything like this girl’s, please shoot me in the face:

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8. Progressive – Brad Likes Discounts

Really all of these are annoying, it’s hard to pick just one.

Which advertisements make you insane?

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Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1748 articles for us.

68 Comments

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    Every single person who has attempted to cohabitate with me for over a month has instituted a “Jade-may-not-talk-during-commercials” rule to halt the onslaught of loud, politically charged bitching I do whenever I watch TV. I have since stopped watching TV altogether because it’s just not worth it. That’s what piratebay is for.

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    The worst is the “Romantic Dinner” commercial. If I went out with that guy ever I would go running out of the restaurant as fast as possible in the other direction. If I was the woman in the ad I would spend all of dinner looking for things to throw at him.

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      yeah i think we wrote about it? i seem to remember that happening. but i mean, that’s a whole different ballgame — this isn’t a list of the most misogynistic or anti-gay or anti-woman commercials, just the most annoying. were i to get into that stuff, it would be a detailed pop culture critique rather than a simple list of me whining

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    #4
    Kind of gets to me… Its like look… Watch the White dude outsmart this chinese couple?

    This post made me giggle… I love how all of most ads are about making straight men comfortable… Or making women look stupid. All the guys in them are really well put together, where as the women are crazy or unreasonable, or nagging…

    The burger one gives whole new meaning to the phrase if you like it then you should have put a ring on it… I do actually want a burger now…

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    Last week my gf and i were complaining to each other about the fact that we don’t have cable and have to get all our teevee through hulu + and netflix. now i am no longer upset. thanks! (and yeah these commercials really DO suck, i’m sorry to all you cable-havers out there)

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    This one’s really bad. It’s a woman giving a guy the silent treatment over the phone. The comments underneath the video are “typical women shit”. I hate pop culture that shows women as “crazy”. It sucks.

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    That commerical with that guy dreaming about driving some car around a racetrack in which the stands are filled with a bunch of girls in bikinis is the worst commercial that’s been constantly playing on television lately.

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    Ugh, all of these are horrible. I feel like phone/tech ads are some of the worst around when it comes to promoting horrible behaviour. While an old Telus banner ad asking what method you preferred to break up with somebody (text, email or phone) was pretty bad, this Rogers one has been annoying me lately:

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    I don’t want to be annoying and add to your perfect list Riese-

    BUT-

    The commercials with the people wheezing from whatever cigarette-related disease they’re dying from ARE THE FUCKING WORST.

    (And Julie wants me to tell you that she hates the TGIFriday’s “We’re sexy now!” commercials)

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      or the ones with the babies coughing!! i don’t even know what it’s for. some sickness you can give your babies (whooping cough maybe?) but gahh it’s soooo horrible!

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        Ohh that one is awful, it’s for getting the whopping cough vaccine and they keep playing that horrible horrible sound of the baby *cough*cough*wheezing, and every time I hear it I feel like I can’t breathe either. Ugh.

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    The Canadian burger chain, Harvey’s, has this commercial that consists of thirty seconds of an UNCOMFORTABLE CLOSE-UP of a guy’s face while he talks about all the stuff he doesn’t want on his burger and why Harvey’s is sooo Canadian. UNCOMFORTABLY CLOSE. I CAN’T HANDLE IT. He looks like a serial killer. I am actually pretty convinced that he is staring into my soul and is going to take a big bite out of it like he does his hamburger.

    There’s also one with a woman. UNCOMFORTABLE.

    Also every Febreeze commercial ever drives me up the wall. The ones with the stupid song that goes “ba dadadadadada DA!” are just painful, and also the staged sty-like sets that people are brought into blindfolded to describe the beautiful smell (because everything has been Febreezed!) that bear no resemblance to any kind of actual smelly place.

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    I hate the Marry Bacon one. It pisses me off for three reasons: 1) I live nowhere near a Jack in the Box (so far, in fact, that I have never actually seen one, let alone been to one), so why do I have to watch their commercials? 2)I can’t marry my girlfriend, but haha let’s joke about marrying your food, yeah, that’s going to make me want a burger, you insensitive jerks. and 3) I have to watch usually about twice per episode while I’m watching Hulu. This is the textbook definition of “ad nauseam.”

    Also, I hadn’t seen the “Chinese Couple” ad before, but I watched it just now. I can see how it is definitely in that grey area of ‘not a good idea/I can’t believe they thought this was a good idea’ but I think I can see where they were coming from. I didn’t get a ‘white man outsmarting a Chinese couple’ vibe, so much as I got ‘no one expects the white guy to understand Chinese.’ This pretty much describes my daily life, so I’ll admit to being mildly amused. Also, all of the Honda deal event ads are awful.

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    I live in Australia, which means I am mercifully oblivious of stupid ads on American TV. Also I rarely watch broadcast TV, which means I am also isolated from the stupid ads on Australian TV (some of which are just five-year-old American ads re-dubbed in Australian accents).

    Although I think anyone can agree that every Harvey Norman commercial is annoying.

    Also can I complain about my least favorite bus ads, since that’s most of the advertising I see? I hate the ones for The Biggest Loser where the lady trainers are wearing naught but running shoes and contorting themselves into ridiculous positions to keep from showing too much skin for a bus ad, while the guy trainer is just shirtless.

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    Maybe its an east coast thing, but the Geico Pig annoys me to no end. Worse than the caveman. Worse still because they heavily sponsor the nationals and I probably watch well over 100 games in a season, with the same three or four stupid Geico commercials all season long…

    There is a reason remotes have mute buttons.

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    Really didn’t like the Chinese couple one? I thought it was funny because I’ve actually seen this happen, even as a child when my parents would speak Chinese to discuss things before going back to English with the salesperson. It actually happens in real life and it was funny to see it as an ad.

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      Plus, it happens to me personally since I do not look very Chinese so when people are talking about me in Chinese or trying to keep some information a secret in Chinese its hilarious to let them finish and just be like 我懂你們在說什麼 ^^

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